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Superstar Nimco Dareen rocks Toronto in dazzling concert

Monday, July 08, 2013

Canadian fans of international superstar, Nimco Dareen, were treated to the gig of their lifetime when the world famous artist hit the Toronto stage in a historic event that simultaneously marked the commemoration of Somali National Day and Canada Day.

The London, UK-based mega star played to a sold-out crowd at 181 Readable Boulevard, located at Toronto’s West end. Music adherents from all walks of life packed the suburban Etobicoke arena to full capacity to witness their beloved star perform in the colorful event on July 1st that attracted thousands of revelers from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and throughout Southern Ontario.
Beauty  glamour and elegance are colourful attributes that define Nimco Dareen s talent-laden career...
Beauty, glamour and elegance are colourful attributes that define Nimco Dareen's talent-laden career.

The stunningly beautiful, incredibly talented artist has emerged as the topmost Somali singer on the world stage releasing multiple CDs in an illustrious career that has taken her on a globe-trotting tour spanning all the continents of the world. Although she hails from the Somali region of Ethiopia (DDSI), the Queen of Daanto (a popular Somali dance music) has captured the hearts of millions of Somalis throughout the Somali Peninsula and across the Diaspora.

Her immense success on the musical scene has elevated her status to that of a national icon in the culturally-rich Somali community she hails form. The charismatic artist is set to make inroads in the wider global musical landscape with other diverse audiences around the world taking keen interest in her music. In a past interview with a US-based TV in Minneapolis, the girl with the golden voice stated that one of her ultimate objectives is to take Somali beats to the pinnacle of world music.

Although Somali tunes are highly intoxicating, its artists have not ventured into the world arena. Nimco Dareen is determined to change that and after an extremely successful spell in her career, she acknowledges the time has arrived to go global. Known for her pulsating and often electrifying music, Nimco Dareen represents a generation of young artists of Somali descent raised in the Diaspora, doling out a fusion of rhymes that is captivating audiences. She makes scintillating music that is entertaining to the core with daanto moves that mesmerize enthusiastic crowds whenever she is on stage. In an exclusive interview with the Digital Journal’s Farid Omar, the Queen of Daanto recounted her dramatic entry into the music world and shed light on the challenges facing the Somali music industry and its future prospects. She also outlined her bold plans to venture into the world music stage. The celebrated artist expressed utmost satisfaction with her Canadian tour saying she has been overwhelmed by the enormous hospitality in Toronto and the massive show of love and support she has received from her adoring fans. In return, she promised to put on a special display for her Toronto fans on Somalia-cum-Canada Day. She did not disappoint as she delivered a world class act that sent her reveling fans into ruptures. Apart from stage engagements, her stint in Canada included a downtown Toronto shooting of a new daanto video to be released shortly. Nimco Dareen took the recording industry by storm when she started performing professionally in 1996 in Finland at the tender age of sixteen. Growing up in the Nordic country, she started singing in School in Finnish and upon learning her native language, she switched to Somali and her songs instantly became world hits.
Cultural ambassador of the highest order: The stunningly beautiful Nimco Dareen showcasing tradition...
Cultural ambassador of the highest order: The stunningly beautiful Nimco Dareen showcasing traditional Somali attire, beads and gourd.

Having attained Somali artistic success at the highest level, she is now ready to embrace the international scene. Her initial inroads into the global arena will come in the form of a multi-language production geared for a world audience. “My new upcoming album would be a multi-lingual one,
The face of world fashion: Nimco Dareen combining contemporary global designs with Middle Eastern an...
The face of world fashion: Nimco Dareen combining contemporary global designs with Middle Eastern and East African trends.
containing tracks in the Somali, Amharic and Oromo languages. Gracing the international scene does not require a specific language or genre because music is universal and music lovers need not understand the language of the beats. They listen to any beautiful music as long as it is moving, entertaining and dynamic in nature” said Nimco Dareen. Due to complexities associated with the world music stage, the renowned artist says she is aware that venturing into this arena would require adjustments content-wise, and at the promotional and marketing levels. “I know that my anticipated entry into the world stage would entail drastic changes in the way I manage my music. For example, I would be expected to work with international musical entities and personalities including non-Somali labels, producers and distributers and I have no issues with that. To appeal to a world audience, my music would have to undergo some transformation but I would still retain strong Somali elements in it. I am open to explore some intricate world fusions that combine Somali tunes with R&B, reggae, hip hop and Latino beats” observed the charismatic Queen of Daanto.

In terms of duets with international superstars, the young diva has shown preference in collaborating with high profile American megastars and a Canuck who is a Canadian household name. “I would like to do collabos with international artists like Lauryn Hill, Toni Braxton and Celine Dion” she said. Looking back at her world travels, Nimco Dareen says globe trotting is a major factor that truly defines her recording career. “It is wonderful to travel around the world to link up with my fans that are spread out across the continents.

The only major place I had never been to is China but I hope to hit the Chinese performing stage one day” she said. As an accomplished cultural ambassador, Nimco Dareen highlighted the challenges facing the Somali music industry. She listed major hindrances that include lack of exposure in the global market, copyright infringement, localized marketing and lax security details during live performances. “Despite the fact that Somali music is beautiful, our artists could not break into the world stage.

Navigating the global music market is a complex matter that requires national resources and functional government institutions. In the Somali case, the collapse of central government meant artists had to fend for themselves with minimal resources. Lack of state institutions and resources has seriously inhibited their progress and as a result, the Somali cultural industries have suffered. But I maintain the optimistic hope that one day, we would see Somali artists plying their trade in the international arena” noted Nimco Dareen. Superstar Nimco Dareen striking a beautiful pose.

The highly acclaimed recording artist also pointed out another key problem, the unchecked copyright infringement where Somali intellectual property rights, particularly those in the arts industry are pirated with impunity. “Artists rely on their musical talent to make a living and it is unfortunate that Somali performing artists are not protected by any copyright laws. The absence of functional state institutions in Somalia that can regulate the music industry is a major factor contributing to copyright infringement. We need to find viable solutions on copyright matters. Artists should make a decent living through the sale of copyrighted material rather than relying entirely on concerts to survive” stated the recording artist. On marketing, she decried the fact that Somali music has done virtually nothing to penetrate the mainstream market. Breaking into the mainstream market presents numerous opportunities both for the artists’ bottom line and the ability to showcase Somali arts and culture to a world audience. “Sadly enough, there is a huge gap when it comes to marketing because our music is primarily catered for the Somali audience. In the world of Somali music, artistic production tightly remains within the confines of the community. We must strive to curve out a niche within the mainstream market so that our CDs can hit the shelves in major chains and stores that sell records. We need to go beyond the Somali market, which is limited and offers minimal returns. It is important that we find a foothold in the more lucrative mainstream market, which can equally serve as a platform to showcase our music globally” she said. A major dilemma facing the Somali music industry is the overtly lax security details during live concerts. Recalling a serious security breach during a past concert in Nairobi, Kenya, Nimco Dareen says there is need to institute a complete overhaul of security arrangements to guarantee the safety of artists. “In our concerts, the artists are exposed to scary situations because stage perimeters are not adequately secured during events. I abhor the fact that some individuals would jump on stage, grab and touch the artists. In chaotic scenes like these, the breakdown of stage security can have serious consequences for the artists. During a massive gig in Nairobi, I was violently attacked on stage by an insane individual. I learned my lesson the hard way and that’s why I have taken steps to ensure a proper enforcement of stage security during my gigs” recounted Nimco Dareen who luckily escaped with minor injuries during the Nairobi attack.

Despite the Nairobi scare, the prominent artist says she would not be deterred by disruptive individuals saying that she looks forward to staging future performances in Kenya. “I would definitely return to
Nimco Dareen at a concert.
Nimco Dareen at a concert.
Nairobi for future gigs. Deranged individuals will not discourage me from reconnecting with my fans there, where I have a huge support base. An estimated seven thousand people attended my Nairobi concert. My fans in the Kenyan capital showed me lots of love and support and I will never abandon them. In fact I look forward to rewarding them further with more concerts in future” Said Nimco Dareen. Beyond the musical realm, the supremely talented singer, well-known for her high intellect, charm and professionalism, has a deep passion for doing humanitarian work. “I am now enrolled in a London, UK school studying social work. I want to utilize my skills and resources to save the children of the world. There is a lot of human suffering in Somalia and beyond and I want to do something about it” she said. Sometimes in the past, she spent a lengthy time on the ground setting up base with rural folks. “Having grown up in big cities, I wanted to experience the typical day to day hardships of impoverished communities in rural areas. In Ethiopia, I spent eight long months in a remote community deep inside the wilderness living with rural families. Since I wanted to get a first hand feeling of what they go through, I slept every night on the ground under a tree with to mattress or bedding. I got sick on the first day but I then felt OK on the second day and onwards. I wanted to show them love and wanted to let them know I cared for their welfare’ said the caring megastar. “Every morning, I consumed camel milk which became my morning juice. I believe in the equality of all humans regardless of their socio-economic status and that’s why I had to immerse myself totally in lives of the poor rural community letting them know that regardless of their conditions, I am no superior to them but completely equal to them” explained the Queen of Daanto. Apart from performing roles, Nimco Dareen also plans to try her hands in the business side of the recording industry. “I plan to get into producing and directing as well as acting, which I am very good at. Film production is another area I would like to pursue. In Europe, I did a film that is yet to be released” she said. The Queen of Daanto is famously known for her elegance and knack for both Somali and contemporary world fashion. “I have a passion for fashion and I love to showcase our culture and traditions through the interplay of music and fashion. When I am performing mainstream Somali music, I generally tilt toward all types of fashion. As everyone knows, the daanto is typically a traditional Somali folk dance and so when I am into this genre, I exclusively showcase Somali traditional attire which I love doing so much”

International superstar and Queen of Daanto  Nimco Dareen  performing at a sold out Toronto concert ...
International superstar and Queen of Daanto, Nimco Dareen, performing at a sold out Toronto concert during the July 1st Somalia/Canada Day festivities.

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Anchor Hassan “Karate” of Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM heaped praise on the Queen of Daanto saying she has an angelic heart and a profound love for her people which makes her an exceptional artist. “She has a very humble heart, is very social and likeable and extremely approachable. Every song she releases becomes a number one hit topping the charts. She stands for all Somalis regardless of their regional or communal affiliations. She is very popular and all Somalis love her songs. She is a true Somali icon. Her songs are well listened to in Ethiopia, especially in the DDSI region and throughout the world” said Hassan “Karate.” The popular anchor notes that Nimco Dareen has made substantial contributions to other aspects of societal life. “She is a well known advocate for peace who has actively promoted peace-related initiatives. Humanitarianism is part of her life and she has done a lot helping orphans and the poor. Her coming to Canada is long overdue but we are glad that she has finally landed in the great north. Ogaal Radio has provided extensive airtime for her best selling songs and we would keep airing her music that is a real source of inspiration for everyone and particularly the younger generation.” For young and upcoming artists, Nimco Dareen has a powerful, inspiring message. “In the pursuit of your dreams, keep it real, be yourself and maintain focus on education. For those who have other occupations, I think they should concurrently advance their careers alongside music. There is more to life than music and therefore, it is crucial for young people to keep their options open.” concluded Nimco Dareen. Canadian fans will retain fond memories of her colorful Toronto event and they can certainly look ahead to future gigs. The Queen of Daanto has promised to return probably for an Eid Day event as well as a New Year concert. Her Canadian fans can’t have enough of their beloved superstar and it appears that the famed megastar will keep Canada in her itinerary in future tour dates. The sky is the limit for the dazzling star who undoubtedly is on a mission to take Somali music to uncharted territory.

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